Chapter 32 continues

The story so far: Sheriff Turner and company owner Augustine Stone welcome scabs to town.

 

After a minute or so had passed, four other passengers leisurely walked off the train. Sheriff Turner took a piece of paper out of his trouser pocket and stared at the drawings on it. He looked at the men and back to his paper. The first man was tall and lanky, with light brown hair carefully parted on the side. His suit was well made, but dirty. His name was Carlo Tresca. Behind him was Sam Scarlett, wearing a red suit, his mustache moist from the heat and his hair slicked back. Milo had seen his picture in the labor magazines his friend Gino gave him. Scarlett was known for the rousing speeches he delivered to recruit workers to join the IWW. Behind him were two others. Each carried a small suitcase.

The four men stood on the muddy street and looked at the two groups of men who were there to greet them. Sheriff Turner’s badge was glinting in the sun. Mr. Augustine Stone rocked back and forth on his new white leather boots and smiled. “Tresca, Gilday, Scarlett, Ettor,” Stone said. “Welcome to the Iron Range.”

The sheriff and the company guards raised their Lugers and pointed the guns at the newcomers. Then, as if he’d been practicing, Sheriff Turner said, “You are under arrest for threatening the life of a lawman.”

“These men ain’t done nothing, Sheriff Turner,” Milo said. “They ain’t even armed.”

“I distinctly saw that one there, with the ungainly mustache, threaten to inflict upon me bodily harm of the worst possible degree,” Stone said. “You must have been looking the other way.”

“He did not!” one of Maki’s friends said.

Little Benjamin and his three friends emerged. They were running, playing a game of tag. They stopped when they saw the guns drawn.

“Hello, sheriff,” Benjamin said innocently. “Could I touch your badge? Is it powerful sharp, like it looks?”

“It is. Too sharp to touch.”

Benjamin was carrying a basket of food. “These fellows in the suits, are they bad guys, sheriff?”

The sheriff looked annoyed. “Go home, boys,” he said.

“I brought Mr. Maki some food,” Benjamin said. He put the large basket on the ground in front of him. “There’s a lot there. Maybe you all could share it.” He looked around.

“What is your name, son?” Carlo Tresca asked. His voice was calm, as if he failed to notice that several guns were aimed at his head.

“Folks call me Benny.”

“We are not the bad guys. We’re the good guys. You see, we haven’t got any guns or weapons, right?”

Benjamin nodded.

“You and your friends are key witnesses here. Do you know what a witness is?”

“I sure do! How ’bout that boys? We are witnesses!” Their faces lit up with importance. “Witnesses to what?”

“An unlawful arrest. Now run along and tell everyone you know what you saw. It’s important work.”

“Yes, sir!” The boys ran quickly down the muddy road.

The sheriff motioned for the guards to restrain the men. “Those kids could’ve died. You four are under arrest for threatening a lawman and putting children’s lives in danger.”

Carlo Tresca stared straight into the sheriff’s eyes. “Think you’re a big man, huh? You ain’t fit to lick my boot.”

 

Tomorrow: Chapter 32 continues.